Vumi, left, and Margarite, right, talking about the project

In places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the effects of COVID-19 have proven deadly in multiple ways. In this area of the world, scant medical care allows the virus to run rampant and uninhibited through communities. Additionally, the broken supply chain around the world caused a terrible impact on rural women in Eastern DRC.

These issues have stolen so many of the advancements for which our partners, Victor and Theo, have worked to achieve for women survivors of armed violence (WSAVs). In response, they applied for a grant from SowHope that would address the economic and traumatic shock for 150 WSAVs. Their project aimed to ensure the women were safe, to create access to capital to save their small businesses that were nearly destroyed by the lockdowns, and to help them be well-informed.

Victor and Theo hosted several meetings in the community, actively involving women in the planning. They formed local savings and microloan groups, identified the most pressing local need (reviving the trade sector, in their case), planned the project goals and activities, taught business management, and strived to build stronger families by teaching men a more wholesome societal role with the goal of reducing gender inequalities. Vumi, a 52-year-old mother of five says, “When COVID-19 arrived, I began to lose hope. But I have seen a big change in my life because of this project. My husband has changed for the better. I wake up with the hope of being able to provide food for my family. Thank you for bringing us back to life.”